Republicans: Unconstitutional Laws Are Okay

(Cross posted on VoxMia.com)

This is truly remarkable: now bills can become law without going through the constitutionally mandated process. Incredible! Don't republicans have any respect for anything that the constitution stands for? Are they so contemptuous of what our founding fathers fought for that, it seems, at every turn republicans wantonly disregard and trash the principles enshrined in our constitution? The truth is that, in spite of what they claim, of course republicans don't value nor respect the constitution, since it reminds them of everything that their party stands against. Habeas Corpus, who needs that? republicans ask. Privacy? Pluuuze, republicans respond. First Amendment? What's that!? Separation of church and state? Come on, that's so post Enlightenment, we don't need that. On and on republicans go on trashing the very core of our democracy.

And now we have the latest from the anti-constitution republicans: a bill no longer needs to pass the House for it to become law.

For anyone who took fifth-grade social studies or sang "I'm Just a Bill," how legislation turns to law always seemed pretty simple: The House passes a bill, the Senate passes the same bill, the president signs it.

"He signed ya, Bill -- now you're a law," shouts the cartoon lawmaker on "Schoolhouse Rock" as Bill acknowledges the cheers.

But last month, Washington threw all that old-fashioned civics stuff into a tizzy, when President Bush signed into law a bill that actually never passed the House. Bill -- in this case, a major budget-cutting measure that will affect millions of Americans -- became a law because it was "certified" by the leaders of the House and Senate. [Washington Post, Wednesday, March 22, 2006]

That's right, under these anti-constitution republicans the supreme law of the land can be ignored in place of political expediency. Since this bill was signed by Bush, pro-constitution and other concerned groups have come forward to defend our founding document from the onslaught of republican attacks.

Public Citizen, a legislative watchdog group, sued yesterday to block the budget-cutting law, charging that Bush and Republican leaders of Congress flagrantly violated the Constitution when the president signed it into law knowing that the version that cleared the House was substantively different from the Senate's version.

Keep in mind that, as anti-constitution republicans have done in the past, for example when Bush admitted to breaking the FISA law, republicans don't dispute that they have chosen to ignore the constitution; they simply argue that, for reasons of convenience, that it is simply easier to skirt the constitution (and any law that stands in their way):

No one disputes the central facts of the lawsuit: Last December, Vice President Cheney broke a tie vote in the Senate to win passage of a bill that would cut nearly $40 billion over five years by reducing Medicaid rolls, raising work requirements for welfare, and trimming the student loan program, among other changes.

[...]

As the measure was being sent to the House last month, a Senate clerk inadvertently changed that 13-month restriction to 36 months, a $2 billion alteration. With the mistaken change, the measure squeaked through the House, 216 to 214.

Once the mistake was revealed, Republican leaders were loath to fight the battle again by having another vote, so White House officials simply deemed the Senate version to be the law.

How convenient, a Senate clerk inadvertently made a mistake. Please, if the immediate past serves as any lesson, at all, then it is this: republicans don't simply make mistakes; in stead, republicans believe that they can get away with anything, so they ignore procedure and the law, knowing full well that in all likely hood they'll get away with their law breaking or misdeed. Just think of it, midterm redistricting in Texas, a stolen election in Florida, collaborating with ENRON to create an energy crisis in California that lead to the recall of a Democratic governor, and, of course, there's their war of choice, and on, and on, and on. Anti-constitution republicans believe that they are above the law and that they can get away with anything -- this was no mistake, no way. They simply were too careless in their eventual cover up, that's all.

As this case makes its way through the courts it'll be curious to see where it ends up. If it ends up before an anti-constitution republican appointed judge we may see a new precedent being set, wherein a bill need not be approved by Congress as long as it's signed by a quasi-monarchial president. However, if the judge that hears this case has any integrity, the only conclusion should be obvious:

"The Constitution is broad and vague on a number of things; this is not one of them," Zeigler said. "The same bill must be passed by House and Senate and signed by the president. Otherwise it's not law. Case over."

Tags: Bill, constitution, Republicans, The Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 (all tags)

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